Everyday life can be full of struggles and stress, and sometimes, people face unknown threats, fears, or undergo major life crises that cause anxiety. You probably know when you’re under stress or are feeling anxious. Many people who are nervous can manifest this feeling through uncontrolled shaking, while some manage to still hide signs and symptoms.
People have different and unique ways of coping with stress and anxiety. In this article, you’ll learn how to effectively manage your anxiety so it won’t lead to complications like depression or a major mental health disorder, such as schizophrenia manifesting through altered thinking, hallucinations, and delusions.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety refers to a sense of threat, fear, and nervousness that may cause sweating, a pounding heart, tension, and restlessness. This may be a normal response to fear. For instance, you may feel anxious before a test, when faced with an unpleasant situation at work, or just before making an important decision.
Fear is always part of our lives. However, it can develop into anxiety if we ignore it for too long. Some forms of anxiety can be very disabling, leading to depression. Anxiety can interfere with our everyday lives and take over.
When left untreated, this disorder can worsen and affect your health and well-being. You may have physical problems as well, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, or difficulty breathing.
Here are some examples of the several types of anxiety:
- Generalized anxiety
- Social anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Specific phobias such as agoraphobia
The manifestations of anxiety vary from person to person, and there are different approaches to treat each type of anxiety. If you’re having problems with anxiety, your doctor will prescribe medications like Zoloft and Paxil. Cognitive therapy, relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, relaxation methods, biofeedback, and deep breathing are also helpful, which be discussed below.
Now that you know the meaning and types of anxiety, it’s time to know how to manage to it.
1. Consult A Mental Health Professional
It pays off to attend anxiety counseling by Alvarado Parkway Institute to help you in managing your anxiety. So how counseling can help people with anxiety?
- Counseling helps people find the underlying causes of their problems.
- Counseling can teach people how to deal with stress in different ways, such as through breathing exercises and yoga or meditation. While these methods may not be able to cure anxiety completely, they can be helpful for relieving some of the symptoms of the condition.
- Counseling helps people gain access to the right tools (like massage devices) and skills to manage their emotions. As they learn to control their emotions and put themselves in situations that make them feel good, they learn to manage their stresses in a more constructive way.
If you’re looking for information on how counseling can help people with anxiety, make sure that you find a counselor who has some experience and knowledge about this particular disorder. If possible, find someone who is a psychologist. Many mental health providers offer these services, and you will be able to find them in your community, on the Internet, and in some
2. Share The Experience Through Proper Channels
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there are about 40 million American adults who have anxiety disorders.
While anxiety disorders are treatable, only 36.9 percent receive treatment. That is why sharing your experience through the right channels is crucial to ensure you get the right treatment.
While you can share your experience with your friends or loved ones, talking to a mental health expert is the best solution to your anxiety problem. Sharing your reasons why you suffer anxiety with a counselor is a smart move to get expert advice.
Look into support groups or online forums, where others share the same concerns and experiences you do. You will also find that these resources can help you see how other people cope with anxiety and what makes them successful.
3. Learn Biofeedback
Biofeedback refers to a type of holistic relaxation and stress management technique that involves changing the way you think about situations. It’s very effective in helping people reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Some people say that biofeedback has helped them lose weight and improve their sleep patterns.
Biofeedback usually involves wearing devices to make the person aware of their anxiety levels. It’s very useful for improving your memory, and it can also help people who are dealing with mental illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s also used in helping patients with certain physical ailments, such as heart diseases and strokes.
Here are some examples of biofeedback techniques:
- Try using a smartwatch to measure your heart rate, brain waves, and muscle tension to determine what triggers the onset of stress and anxiety.
- Try electromyography (EMG) biofeedback, which measures changes in muscle tension over time.
- Consider temperature or thermal biofeedback, which helps measure changes in body temperature over time.
- Try electroencephalography biofeedback to measure your brain wave activity over time.
- Biofeedback is sometimes combined with acupuncture and other treatments to manage certain conditions or injuries. One example is wearing a smart fabric for remote patient monitoring .
4. Perform Breathing Exercises
There are many benefits to performing breathing exercises. Deep breaths can help reduce stress and make you feel more relaxed and tranquil, which will give you more energy, and you will also notice a difference in how you feel.
Here are some tips when performing breathing exercises:
- The first basic step in doing any exercise is to properly breathe deeply. Try to breathe slowly and deeply as you can. Breathe in completely and release any tension from your body through the chest. After you have released this tension, you can then slowly exhale.
If you are new to this technique, you may want to hold a book to help you breathe as you follow the breathing exercise. You may even want to hold something easy to breathe with, such as your hands. It will help you get used to breathing and will also make things easier for you as you go along with your exercise.
- As you do the exercise, try to keep your focus on the breathing process and not on anything else. Try to visualize the experience as if you’re actually taking a deep breath. You can even use your mind’s imagination in this regard to create an ideal experience
- Remember to breathe out every now and then to clear your nasal passages. When you have finished doing this, you will need to inhale slowly. The idea is to gradually move your diaphragm in and out as you inhale and exhale.
- Another good breathing exercise to do is when you’re in a dark room. Take some deep breaths and slowly exhale from your mouth. This will help clear your air passages. When you feel ready to do more advanced breathing exercises, you might want to try them in front of the mirror.
- For meditation (which will be discussed below), take a slow deep breath for a few seconds, hold your breath for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly for the same amount of time.
5. Undergo Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT for short, is one of the most successful forms of therapy for treating and preventing anxiety disorders. If you are in this process of recovery, you know that this form of therapy has helped you to control your anxiety symptoms, but have you ever given any thought to how it works?
Here are the important benefits of CBT:
- Identify Cause Of Anxiety: In cognitive behavior therapy, you learn how to identify and treat the underlying fear in your body. CBT helps you become more aware of the way you react when you are stressed and also learn to control your breathing.
- Learn New Coping Skills: When you begin CBT, you will be able to learn new coping skills to help you handle your anxiety. For example, you will learn how to avoid feeling anxious for a certain amount of time so that you’re not tempted to panic. This technique will help you reduce the occurrence of attacks while you’re still undergoing therapy sessions.
- Learn How To Avoid Stress: Another important component of cognitive behavioral therapy is learning how to deal with stress healthily. CBT teaches you how to avoid stress so that the attacks don’t occur at all. Many people who are suffering from anxiety disorders tend to develop a lot of fear because they’re worried that the attacks might happen.
- CBT is a long-term process that takes time to go through. If you’re going to use this form of treatment for anxiety, you need to have patience and not give up after a short period.
6. Try Meditation And Yoga
How meditation and yoga can help reduce anxiety naturally is something that many people are starting to learn more about. These relaxing practices have been used for thousands of years and are still practiced by millions of people worldwide.
Meditation helps a great deal in reducing your symptoms of anxiety because it’s a great way to increase your mental awareness. When you meditate, it can allow you to see things from a new perspective and from a more positive outlook.
Another form of meditation that many people are starting to learn more about is yoga. Yoga works by getting your mind into a relaxed state. Meditation and yoga are good ways to learn how to control your mind so it can be more relaxed and focused.
7. Try Hypnosis
Hypnosis refers to a kind of stress management therapy that helps a person attain a trance-like state, blocking anything happening around the person’s awareness using guided relaxation. Although it’s not a cure, it’s a great way to help relieve your stress and anxiety. Hypnosis can help you relax your mind and body so you can get the rest you need.
Hypnosis is a widely used therapy and has proven useful in many cases. However, it should be considered with caution and should not be used to replace professional medical advice. If you do decide to use hypnosis for anxiety, you should be aware of the risks and how to cope with the side effects that are associated with using it.
8. Live A Healthy Lifestyle
It’s essential to set a time for everything you do and live a healthy lifestyle no matter how busy you are. By doing so, you’ll be able to relax for some time and reduce signs and symptoms of anxiety.
Here are some healthy lifestyle tips:
- Avoid Vices: Smoking and alcoholism tend to be the common outlets for anxious people. However, these activities are unhealthy, causing even more stress, most especially when you get sick because of them.
- Exercise Regularly: Regular exercise helps the body create more happy hormones, like serotonin, to uplift your mood and relieve stress and anxiety.
- Get Enough Sleep And Rest: Without the right amount of sleep and rest, your body is a dead engine, causing it to malfunction along the way. Your thoughts and emotions may come off the track, so make sure to sleep early and take a rest when you’re tired, most especially if your work involves operating machinery or driving a vehicle, like trucks.
As you can see, there are many ways to manage anxiety. First, you have to understand the things that are causing your anxiety and find better ways to handle them. Talk to a psychologist or psychiatrist to help you manage your stress through CBT, biofeedback, and prescribing anti- anxiety medications as necessary. Of course, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and living a healthy lifestyle can also help you manage your anxiety. Having support groups, whether online or in person, as well as having family and friends you can talk to can also aid in alleviating your anxiety.
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring anxiety symptoms, and don’t be afraid to acknowledge these and talk to a professional about it. This way, you can avoid experiencing more severe mental health issues as a result of not being able to effectively manage your anxiety.